Access Holdings Plc, the parent company of Nigeria’s largest bank by assets, is embarking on a substantial financial initiative aimed at cementing its position as a leading global force from an African origin. To accomplish its ambitious vision of becoming “the world’s most respected African bank,” Access Holdings plans to raise a significant sum of ₦351 billion (equivalent to $233 million USD) through a rights issue targeted at existing shareholders.

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This strategic move involves the issuance of 17.7 billion new ordinary shares at a price of ₦19.75 per share. The announcement was made during a detailed presentation to stakeholders and shareholders at the Nigeria Exchange Limited (NGX), where Access Holdings, valued at approximately ₦696.69 billion, outlined its expansive growth strategies.

Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, Chairman of Access Holdings Plc, articulated the company’s new global trajectory, posing the question: “When you are the largest bank in Nigeria and a major player in Africa, what’s the next step?” Emphasizing a shift towards a global perspective, he underscored the company’s aspiration to transcend continental boundaries.

Access Holdings, boasting a customer base exceeding 60 million and operations spanning three continents, intends to penetrate new markets, including a pivotal move into the United States, alongside the establishment of a trade booking office in Malta.

Roosevelt Ogbonna, Managing Director and CEO of Access Bank, emphasized their strategic approach: “We are highly discerning in our investment choices, driven by financial prudence rather than mere prestige. Our focus remains squarely on lucrative opportunities.”

The capital raised from the rights issue will be allocated strategically: 65% of the funds, totaling ₦223.00 billion, will bolster their loan portfolio across corporate, commercial, retail, and SME sectors. An additional ₦68.62 billion (20% of the proceeds) is earmarked for enhancing and modernizing infrastructure, with the remaining ₦51.46 billion (15%) directed towards expanding distribution channels, including new branches in key Nigerian cities like Lagos, Port Harcourt, and Abuja over the next two years.

Since its inception in 2002 under Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede and the late Herbert Wigwe, Access has pursued a dynamic growth strategy, marked by both local and international acquisitions. Notably, in 2012, it merged with Intercontinental Bank, followed by a merger with Diamond Bank in 2019. In 2023, Access acquired majority stakes in Standard Chartered Bank’s subsidiaries across Angola, Cameroon, The Gambia, and Sierra Leone. More recently, in June 2024, it completed the acquisition of African Banking Corporation of Tanzania (ABCT) Limited.

Reflecting on the company’s evolution, Roosevelt Ogbonna remarked, “In 2002, no Nigerian bank of our scale remains operational today. The landscape has transformed drastically, positioning Access among the foremost institutions.”

With these strategic initiatives and capital injections, Access Holdings aims not only to reinforce its market dominance but also to carve out a distinctive global identity as the premier African financial brand.